Almost 840,000 traffic accidents occur annually in the United States because of blind spots, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and 300 people are killed as a result of those accidents.
Unfortunately, no vehicle is completely free of blind spots. For passenger vehicles, a blind spot is any part of the road that isn’t visible when you’re looking through the windshield or the rearview and side mirrors of the vehicle. If you have been in a blind spot accident, read our car accident checklist on how to proceed with reporting to the police and insurance.
For large trucks, there are more blind spots and the area they cover is much larger. The only traffic that large truck drivers can see behind them is traffic on either side. They can’t see vehicles right behind them, nor can they see vehicles right beside them.
To reduce the risk of traffic accidents because of the blind spots in a passenger vehicle, drivers should exercise extra caution in these driving situations:
- Backing up – Unless your vehicle is equipped with a reverse camera that shows you the entire area behind you, a good rule of thumb is to get out and walk around the vehicle to ensure nothing and no one is behind the vehicle before you back up.
- Changing lanes – Many cars now come equipped with technology that warns you if another vehicle is too close to you, but if yours does not have this installed, be sure to turn your head to visually check your blind spots before moving over into another lane, or check for motorcycles that may be lane splitting.
- Driving through Intersections and crosswalks – It is not uncommon in the spring and summer for foliage to overgrow and obstruct the view of an intersection or crosswalk. Therefore, you should have a heightened awareness of your surroundings when traveling through intersections and crosswalks.
- Turning left – Turning left without a traffic signal is always a bit nerve-wracking because you have to be aware of traffic on both your right and left sides, as well as cars coming into traffic both ways from side roads or driveways, before you can safely make a turn. Perhaps the safest thing to do would be to drive miles out of your way by making only right turns – and there are people who do this. Since that’s not always practical, however, use the defensive driving you learned in driver’s education when you are turning left.
To minimize the risk of traffic accidents because of blind spots in large trucks, passenger vehicle drivers should do the following:
- Pass on the left – The blind spot for a large truck is biggest on the right, so the potential for a blind spot accident is greater for passenger vehicles to the right of the truck.
- Pass quickly – Once a passenger vehicle moves further alongside a large truck toward the cab, it is already in the truck driver’s blind spot. If you begin to pass on the left and the truck speeds up, then reduce your speed so that the driver can see you or increase your speed and get around them. Don’t linger in the blind spot.
- Follow large trucks at a safe distance – Tailgating large trucks is very unsafe because the drivers can’t see anything right behind them, so if they need to quickly stop or maneuver because of traffic in front on them, your passenger vehicle is going to get the worst end of the collision – and you may not live to tell the story. There should be about 20 car lengths between your vehicle and the back of a large truck (four-second following distance) so that you can safely stop if you need to do.
Contact Us for Legal Help After a Truck Accident
If you are hurt in a blind-spot accident, the Huntsville car accident lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., are here to help you. Contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free consultation and discuss what compensation might be available to you.
McNamara went to the University of Alabama School of Law with that goal in mind. After her first year of law school, however, McNamara had the opportunity to clerk for Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Lyn Stuart and worked on several plaintiff’s cases.